8 Surprising Sources of Caffeine in Kids' Foods

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by: Lindsay Hutton
Is your child consuming too much caffeine without you even knowing it? The answer may be yes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says 100-200 milligrams (mg) a day is safe, but a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found even low doses (under 100 mg) of caffeine can have an effect on your child's heart rate and blood pressure. These low doses, the equivalent of a cup of coffee or half to a full can of soda, were found to slow children's heart rates and raise blood pressure in all ages, and have an ever bigger effect after puberty, most notably in teen boys. Caffeine can also cause difficulty sleeping and concentrating, and other ailments like nervousness, headaches, and an upset stomach. The FDA doesn't require manufacturers to list caffeine content on food labels, so be aware of where caffeine may be lurking.
Chocolate
Chocolate
Your child's chocolate treats have more than just sugar: they also have caffeine. A typical candy bar generally has up to 10 mg, but the darker the chocolate, the higher the caffeine count. For example, Hersey's Special Dark chocolate bar has 31 mg, about the same amount as a cup of tea. Find the caffeine count in more candy products.
Ice Cream
Ice Cream
Chocolate and coffee ice cream can both pack a punch when it comes to caffeine. Some brands of coffee ice cream can contain 30 to 45 mg in a half-cup serving — that's about as much caffeine as in a can of cola. Chocolate ice cream typically has much less at about 3 mg per serving.
Flavored Breakfast Products
Flavored Breakfast Products
You know to look at the sugar content in certain cereals and yogurts, but did you know some breakfast products also contain caffeine? Cocoa Puffs has 2 mg in a 4 oz serving, and chocolate-flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast has 9 mg per packet. Dannon coffee-flavored yogurt has 45 mg in an 8 oz serving.
Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate
A 6 oz packet of hot chocolate has, on average, about 10 mg of caffeine, and a 6 oz serving of chocolate milk has about 4 mg.
Tea
Tea
Some hot and iced teas contain caffeine. For example, a bottle of Snapple Lemon Tea has 62 mg, and a cup of Earl Grey black tea has 55 to 90 mg. Not all teas contain caffeine — brewed herbal tea has none — so do your research. Find out the caffeine content in other tea beverages.
Non-Cola Sodas
Non-Cola Sodas
When most of us think of caffeine in soda, we think of colas. A 12 oz can of Coca-Cola has 35 mg of caffeine, and Pepsi has 38 mg. But it may come as a surprise that some non-cola soft drinks contain caffeine, too.

A 12 oz can of Barq's Root Beer has 23mg, A&W Cream soda has 25 mg, and Sunkist Orange has 41 mg. Mountain Dew contains a whopping 55 mg and Surge Citrus soda contains a shocking 68 mg. Find out the caffeine content in other sodas.

Caffeinated Waters
Caffeinated Waters
You may know energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine, but what about caffeinated water drinks? Krank 20 and Java Water have 100 mg and 125 mg respectively, while other brands can contain anywhere from 50 to 90 mg.
Decaf Coffee
Decaf Coffee
If your child has developed an early taste for a cup of joe, you may think decaf is a good option. But it's important to note that even decaffeinated coffee isn't 100 percent caffeine-free. While a cup of decaf coffee generally only has about 5 mg of caffeine (while an 8 ounce cup of brewed coffee has between 100-200 mg), amounts can vary, so your child may be getting more than you bargained for.